After a weekend of high energy, very well played songs and little improvisation, we look ahead to tonight–The old Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA before heading to the beautiful city of Camden for two nights and Merriweather for the same.
Before we look ahead at the next 5 show run, let’s look at what just happened with Phish.
I may have sounded a bit too pessimistic in my last post–but, as I have said all along, I am not here to “fluff” things up like a certain blogger friend of ours (although I was surprised to see him pretty critical of the past couple shows). Nothing was bad about the past couple shows, I think Phish may have just started so strong with the first three shows this tour we had expected a linear trajectory upwards from then on–improvisationally, that is.
After coming off the solo standing, radio friendly show from Virginia, Phish came into Hartford showing a lot of promise–playing a raging first set and a ridiculous Down With Disease->Sand, things couldn’t look better going into the long weekend. Unfortunately from there on, we would get two first sets for every show, albeit really good first sets.
Before I ramble on too much; It’s time for Trey to take a dive and experiment with some musical risks like he used to. I was very forgiving of him in 2009 because he was getting back on his feet–it’s very apparent that in 2010, Trey is BACK. He is nailing songs, he has tons of energy again, and showing that he’s having fun (teasing songs, playing Tweeprise 4 times, stage banter, taking requests). He is as back on his feet as he is going to get, and he has a band behind him THAT IS READY TO FLY OFF THE HANDLE–I’ve said it before, Page and Mike seem to be in their prime now, they are crushing everything they do right now, and Fish is as solid as ever. Take advantage of what you have right now Trey–enough tip toeing, ending jams prematurely and playing dead horse songs. Shelf Drowned, Rock ‘n Roll and even wait longer to play Down With Disease. Everything is real good right now and real promising–we just want our jams back, even if they sound different.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEKEND:
Walk Away (6/17) – Blazing Tweeprise jam, unusual
Sugar Shack (6/17) – Trey for the first time nails it, improvises guitar over the song/singing–different than 2009
Alaska (6/17) – More intense than I have ever heard with Mike supporting Trey intensely, Streets of Cairo tease.
Down with Disease->Sand (6/17) – One of their best jams this tour, so far.
Farmhouse (6/17) – A longer and more delicate jam in it made this version unlike almost any other, beautiful.
Fee->Rift (6/18) – An excellent opener goes into a beautifully executed version of Rift, showing Trey is on top of his game.
Light-> Billy Breathes (6/18) – A well textured Light leads beautifully into a wonderful version of Billy Breathes.
Harry Hood > Wading in the Velvet Sea (6/18) – Delicate interplay between Trey and Page highlights this version of Hood with Page leading us seamlessly into Wading.
Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise, Tweezer Reprise (6/18) – Playing Sleeping Monkey as a requested song from the night before, Trey makes a lot of silly banter before and during the song. Then, playing Tweeprise to finish the Tweezer from earlier in the night and another to finish Hershey’s which is particularly raging.
Tweezer Reprise (opener), Tweezer Reprise (closer) (6/19) – Trey apparently is feeling goofy, playing four Tweeprises in half as many shows. The crowd goes nuts when the show is opened with this.
Fluffhead (6/19) – The best Fluffhead since Alpine 1999’s–the composed part is as flawlessly executed in as long as I can remember in recent history and the jam coming out is soaring, one of my favorite all-time versions.
Brother (6/20) – Opening their second Father’s Day show in as many years with brother and all the Phish children on stage is always a nostalgic treat.
Back on the Train (6/20) – A great version, great work from Trey and Mike.
Undermind (6/20) – Trey blazes in this rendition of the choppy/funky/rock song.
Gotta Jibboo (6/20) – While the version is pretty standard, what makes it stand out is the fact Tony from TAB comes out and Mike plays rhythm on Trey’s other Langedoc.
Carini > Mango Song (6/20) – The dark second set opener yielded way to hot wailing from Trey, rather than the usual distorted evilness that usually ensues, Mike with liquid bass lines to accompany. Goes flawlessly into a Mango Song that, despite their seemingly clashing sounds, pairs nicely with this Carini.
Makisupa Policeman (6/20) – Trey talks a lot in this version and includes mini-solos from Mike, Page and Fish. The Makisupa banter carries on into the beginning of Piper.
Phish will be playing a stand alone show tonight, like they did in Virginia last week. I predict a show comparable to the shows they played this weekend–probably high energy, not as much extended improve and great execution. However, I feel they are still on the brink of busting out the jams. Look for either the first or second night of Camden to have at least one standout jam, even if it’s just the length of last week’s Disease->Sand. I expect Merriweather to have one of the blowout jams we have all be waiting for. I am very excited to see what they play. I could be all wrong–tonight could be a sleeper show. It’s a Tuesday night show, book ended by two empty days–it has all the characteristics of a sleeper show (other than the fact it’s sold out–however, the next string of shows are not). On the flip side, Phish doesn’t seem to really play into the “sleeper show” mystique as they once did.
Thursday, 06/17/2010 The Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT
Friday, 06/18/2010 The Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT
Saturday, 06/19/2010 Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY